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Old 12-12-2010, 06:22 PM   #1
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Still not believing this happened

Thankful to be posting this afternoon. Let me tell you why.
Left from here(Va Beach) friday around three with the Shamrock in tow for Ashland to stay there till Monday. Well the trip was going Ok I would say, traffic was heavy but we were making way. Got on I-295 and we were ten minutes from the exit when the scare of a lifetime hit us. Made a lane change to the left to prepare for the split onto I-95 when it felt mushy just as I straightened and made it to the middle of the lane. The trailer swayed bad, I accelerated a touch and thought i had it but it kept on but worsening more. Within a short distance we spun completely around and stopped in the middle of traffic. The truck was upright,camper was not. The LP tanks were wedged against the bumper and lifting the passenger rear in the air. Scary scene with them leaking. The trailer hitch was still attached, the neck was bent on the TT. Thankfully nobody else weas involved. Scary part was I had no time really to reach for the TT brakes it happened so fast. We are ok today but I have to say the camper is looking bad. The truck was drivable to the motel we stayed at the night at and I made a discovery that explains alot.

Initially we thought a big rig behind us rushed up way too fast and made us loose like that. Turns out I noticed a nail in my rear drivers side tire while looking at the damage. Pressure was down to 10psi. Sounds like a likely culprit. I was ticketed for failure to maintain but I am going to pray that will be nullified after this being brought to the attention of the judge. At the scene it was not noticeably bulging excessively because of the tires being load range E and it being night-time as well as no trailer load anymore. I checked all four before we left.

Luckily we have the TT insured. I am still a little in the dark about what the whole procedure with be. There are numerous structural cracks inside and out, the awning tore clean off as it slid door side down. We cleaned our belongings out and am awaiting to hear from the insurance people tomorrow as the office was closed when I called. Maybe they will fix the truck as well I don't know. The policy is so confusing.

We have towed this trailer quite a bit this first year and never felt sway more than a little from wind direction. That is what has us shaken so badly.

Sam and Tonya
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Old 12-12-2010, 06:34 PM   #2
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Wow! I'm glad your family members are all safe! It really sounds like you know what you are talking about and how to handle things. That's what makes your story extra scary. Almost like it could happen to anyone. I hope everything works out OK for you.
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Old 12-12-2010, 06:34 PM   #3
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Wow! PTL you are ok and life will go on. I would fight with the court on the ticket and with the ins company, thats what you pay them for. Good luck with all that.
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Old 12-12-2010, 06:38 PM   #4
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I don't think it's all that unusual, as I've seen more than a few similar twisted wrecks, all jacknife/spinout situations. Number one reason why we tow a fifth.
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Old 12-12-2010, 06:41 PM   #5
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Really glad to hear you survived the accident unhurt. That could have be a nasty situation. This is a good reminder to us all that the trailer will always take control if given the slightest opportunity. Good luck with the repair of the trailer and defending the cause of the accident. BTW, don't let this mishap turn you off on RVing, just chalk it up as one of those days.
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Old 12-12-2010, 06:48 PM   #6
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Oh we will be back because we enjoy it so much. It was a freak accident, real bad day and hopefully the insurance people take care of it. There is nothing like steaming a bunch of clams at night in the quiet with the stars having a nice time with your camper. We will be back.
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Old 12-12-2010, 07:17 PM   #7
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Wow, that's scary. Good luck with the insurance company. Who do you have if you don't mind me asking?
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Old 12-12-2010, 07:22 PM   #8
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Blue Sky is the RV insurance.
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Old 12-12-2010, 07:38 PM   #9
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What hitch were you using to haul your the 183?
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Old 12-12-2010, 07:52 PM   #10
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Oh, not familiar with them. Did you have replacement coverage? I'm no expert by any stretch of the imagination but I can't see a trailer that's been flipped be salvageable...can it?
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Old 12-12-2010, 09:05 PM   #11
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I don't think it's all that unusual, as I've seen more than a few similar twisted wrecks, all jacknife/spinout situations. Number one reason why we tow a fifth.
Crocus, I have enjoyed many of your post and the useful info you have shared but I must say, the above comment is most callous and unwarranted at this time.
The man is on here telling his story of a terrible accident which easily could have been tragic, and you feel the need to point out to the OP and whoever else may be reading, that it is quite obvious, that anybody who has a tongue pull trailer is skirting a fiery death everytime they pull a TT and only people wise enough to know how to cheat the grim reaper own a fifth wheel.

Please dont make me do a google image search of fifth wheel TT accident pictures, I am sure the results will be plentifull...
And even worse, pictures of wrecked 18 wheelers, or 18 wheelers experiencing sway going down the highway, the original fifth wheel.
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Old 12-12-2010, 10:52 PM   #12
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Just being honest. I realise some don't like honesty, but that's life.
Didn't mean to be callous, though. I know how scary such a situation could be. I've been in a couple of panic situations with our fifth wheels, and it ain't no fun, but have never even come close to losing control.
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Old 12-12-2010, 11:14 PM   #13
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What hitch were you using to haul your the 183?
i'd also be interested in what WDH you were using. and what do you mean you didn't have time to reach for the TT brakes?
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Old 12-12-2010, 11:26 PM   #14
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Scary situation. I believe when he said he didn't have time to reach for the TT brakes he meant reach for the brake controller to apply only the brakes to the TT to stop the swaying. That would be my guess.
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Old 12-13-2010, 12:16 AM   #15
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5th Wheel Trailers are not immune to sway, and anybody that thinks they are are kidding themselves and those around them. Enuff said.

Glad no one was hurt.
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Old 12-13-2010, 07:33 AM   #16
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I was not using a WDH or sway bars as we never needed ones. Towed at that speed before in worse wind and never had any excessive sway or handling problems. Also the rear springs are 9 pack lift springs so the bed never sags and the tires are load range E so we were equipped well. The tire pressure may have caused the same result even with a special hitch. Yes I meant I was reaching for the brake on TT brake controller.

And the for the fifth wheel guy, I was not gonna reply to that because I figure the rest would have noticed that was a little harsh. Not to mention there was a fifth that passed us just after the wreck and I was hoping he would stop and give my girl somewhere warm to sit. He did not. Make friends and loose friends on the highways.
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Old 12-13-2010, 08:41 AM   #17
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"I was not using a WDH or sway bars as we never needed ones. Towed at that speed before in worse wind and never had any excessive sway or handling problems. Also the rear springs are 9 pack lift springs so the bed never sags and the tires are load range E so we were equipped well. The tire pressure may have caused the same result even with a special hitch. Yes I meant I was reaching for the brake on TT brake controller"

That explains why you lost control. You never need sway bars, until YOU NEED THEM. And your brakes should be set up so the trailer always comes on harder than the TV, thus assuring it is available in a panic situation. When the chit hits the fan, you ain't got time to be reaching for the brake controller, and that is dangerous in itself, as your attention should be on driving.
Sorry to be harsh again, but it appears you may have been an accident waiting to happen.
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Old 12-13-2010, 09:09 AM   #18
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5th Wheel Trailers are not immune to sway, and anybody that thinks they are are kidding themselves and those around them. Enuff said.

Glad no one was hurt.
I also am quite thankful there were no significant injuries. I would like to caution you, however, to be alert for Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Anytime a person is subjected to rapid onset stressful conditions that are potentially life threatening, delayed reaction (physically and mentally) is almost guaranteed.

As to 5th wheel sway, I must say that an improperly loaded 5th wheel (one with a pin weight outside the safe range of 15% -25% of total camper weight) is a squirrely handful and operation at the extreme ends is very hard on the truck as well. Overly light pin loads (most common way of dealing with an overloaded TV) causes tail wagging that causes steering tire wear at many times the rate of drive wheels. (Don't ask me how I know )
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Old 12-13-2010, 12:05 PM   #19
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Sorry to hear of your unfortunate accident. Thank the good Lord you all were okay. One thing I couldn't help noticing was that it appears your towing vehicle was a Tacoma, if I read correctly. While it may not have made any difference in the accident, I just feel myself that the truck is a bit small-ish for a towing vehicle- sort of like towing with a Colorado/S-10, or a Ranger. I also would be sure X2 to use a sway reducing hitch next time. You may feel it isn't necessary, BUT when you need it.....nuff said. Again, sorry for your loss, and best of luck in the future! Randy
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Old 12-13-2010, 12:53 PM   #20
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Just heard from the insurance people that we have the necessary replacement insurance so that is very good news. Oh yeah, without a doubt I will do it with a sway hitch and WD next time. I don't think it would have stopped this though. I was still losing pressure. The object was just removed from the tire was real nasty,left a big hole going in and was losing fast so at speed and while towing I imagine it dropped quick once we picked it up.

I can understand everyone thinks the Tacoma is small to do the job. It did it well as it could under the circumstances. My girl said I saved us controlling the spin but I credit it to the truck staying upright which is impressive. Also the front springs are 950lb coils and rear shocks are remote reservoir dual bypass shocks.
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